BASICS FIRST. WHY ARE THEY SO HEALTHY?
USES IN INDONESIA.
Many of us are slowly cutting meat out of our diets. Whether that’s by deliberate choice, by taste, or by the sheer popularity of the meatless fad, more and more of us (myself included) are wracking our brains to come up with healthy, non carb-overload-y solutions to the meat free dinner.
When I first cut down my red meat intake, I was tired all the time. It took me a few weeks to realize that I had been replacing all of the protein in my life with carbs. Oatmeal for breakfast, hummus & pita for lunch, pasta for dinner. This carb-heavy diet left me with erratic energy: peaks of high energy right after eating and lethargic crashes a few hours later.
And after a bit of research, here’s what I found. 6 Delicious & Nutritious vegetarian protein replacements! Click the images for easy recipe ideas.
Oh the Candlenut. Also known as Kemiri in Indonesian, Kukui in Hawaii, and a staple in food, beauty, and health treatments. Also known affectionately as “the poor man’s macadamia nut” in Indonesia, we love this ingredient for not only its variety of uses but the benefits it has! Here are some popular uses in Indonesia:
Candlenut Oil is very high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA). In fact, the oil is 69% EFA, which puts it up there with Flax Seed Oil and Chia Seed Oil (71% and 70% respectively). Almond Oil has 17%, Avocado has 10%, Rice Bran Oil has 36%, just to give you perspective. Why is this important? Application of EFA is key in strengthening the skin’s lipid barrier which is why, for example, Evening Primrose Oil (81%) is often prescribed for Eczema Patients.
It also contains glycerides of linoleic, oleic and various linolenic acids, which are essential to skin health.
We love the oil so much our cult classic product, the Candlenut Body Creme, is based on Candlenut oil! As the product that started it all for JUARA, it has become a love-at-first-sight product for countless JUARA customers, celebrities and beauty editors. An ultra-nourishing complex of velvety Candlenut Oil, firming Rice Bran Oil, redness-reducing Avocado Oil and rich Illipe Butter give you long-lasting moisture without the greasiness… definitely more than just a “feel good” product, but one that’s good for you. Curious? Learn more here.
Likewise, our popular Candlenut Hydrating Shower Gel is a sulfate-free, delightfully foaming body cleanser infused with candlenut oil that takes you to the tropics with our signature Candlenut fragrance, while leaving your skin supple, clean, and soft. Encased in an elegant bottle, this shower gel is as pleasing to use as it is to the eye in the beautiful batik-inspired bottle and easy-to-use pump. Curious? Learn more here.
As the daughter of a mother who has always put the needs of others above her own, I am always in search of gifts that would show the love and appreciation I feel for my mom. Wellness and self-care are high on my list, but I also know that spending time together is a big thing for my mom. Interestingly, as a mother of 3 little kids, I crave me-time and catching up on sleep. My mother, on the other hand, as I know a lot of mothers of grown kids do, values few things more than spending QT with her kids. Here are some simple, inexpensive ideas to combine a beauty gift with time together.
1) Give Mom a Hand Treatment
Who doesn’t love a great hand cream! Hand Creams are amongst the most popular Mother’s Day gift ideas, but you can turn a simple hand cream into a super relaxing experience for Mom. Next time you see her in person, sit down with her and give her a 5-minute massage. There are a ton of how-to’s online, including this one on Wiki: Want to take it even further? Prep your mother’s hands and lower arm with a gentle cream scrub you can just wipe off before following with a hand cream.
Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm ($20, 2.5 oz/ 73 mL)
Candlenut Body Crème ($35, 7.5 oz/ 213 g)
Candlenut Body Polish ($35, 7.5 oz/ 213 g)
2) Found a Great Mask? Mask & Relax Together!
There is something incredibly relaxing about putting on a mask, maybe because it forces us to slow down a bit. Why not take a 10 minute break with you Mom, apply the mask and sit down with her with a cup of soothing herbal tea!
Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask ($38, 2.5 oz/ 73 mL)
Java Plum Avocado Nourishing Mask ($38, 2.5 oz/ 73 mL)
Rose Willowbark Purifying Mask ($38, 2.5 oz/ 73 mL)
3) Enjoy a Home Made Jamu with Mom
What’s good for health and wellness is also good for outer beauty. Jamu, the ancient Indonesian herbal tradition goes back centuries, but you can easily re-create a simplified Jamu drink at home and enjoy with your Mom. Pour boiling water over a few slices of fresh turmeric and/ or ginger. Add lemon, honey and a dash of black pepper – voila! If fresh turmeric is hard to come by, just mix some turmeric powder with honey to create a paste and drop into a cup of hot water.
Check out this detailed recipe for a quick-and-easy Jamu!
4) Try Some Beginner Yoga Moves Together (or Tai Chi, Pilates, Stretches, etc.)
Perhaps your Mom already does Yoga. Maybe Tai Chi is more up her ally – It does not really matter, as long as it is simple for both of you and creates a shared experience that allows you to be present in the moment without any of the usual distractions.
Check out these beginner poses from Health Magazine.
You can see the JUARA products here
Happy Mother’s Day!
We all know Turmeric from Indian, Thai and Indonesian food. It gives curry its yellow color and adds a slightly bitter, mustardy flavor. Turmeric is also one of the most important Indonesian Jamu ingredients with all kinds of powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. But sweets? Absolutely! After playing around with various amounts of Turmeric and fruit combinations, I went bold – voila, curry colored muffins that are fluffy and aromatic with beautiful pops of purple color and juicy peach.
What’s key? Use whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat flour to get a more delicate texture. Buttermilk or Kefir ups the fluffiness factor. Cinnamon and brown sugar adds depth while also balancing the assertiveness of Turmeric. And lots of real butter….butter makes everything in life better… Enjoy for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea.
1 1/4 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4 Oat Bran
1/4 Flax Seeds
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
1 tbs+1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbs Cinnamon
1/2 cup+1 tbs Brown Sugar
1/2 cup+ 1 tbs Butter, melted
2/3 cup Kefir or Buttermilk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Banana, ripe and mashed
1 cup Peaches, chopped (canned peaches ok)
1 cup Fresh Blueberries (frozen Blueberries seep too much juice and alter the curry color)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tray with muffin liners.
With a hand mixer, combine brown sugar, butter, buttermilk and vanilla extract until smooth. Add eggs and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients, spices and salt. Add the dry combination to the wet mixture while continuing to blend with hand mixer. Once the mixture is smooth and fluffy, add mashed banana and mix well. Put away hand mixer and carefully fold in chopped peaches and blueberries. Fill muffin cups and bake 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into a muffin. If there is no dough stuck to it when you pull it out, the muffins are done.
Part of the ginger family, turmeric is a native plant to southeast India. Turmeric is most popularly used in two forms: raw and dried. Turmeric has been used for almost 1000 years in cuisine, medicine, makeup, skin care, and clothes dying.
When ingested, turmeric has historically been used to heal stomach and liver ailments. Turmeric powder concoctions have been used to bring down fevers. It can also be used as an anti-bacterial salve on open wounds. Those who consume turmeric on a regular basis report a reduction in arthritis pain, heartburn, sensitive stomachs, headaches, colds, and menstrual cramps. It may also help those with diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer. How? New research showed that daily turmeric ingestion decreased DNA damage by half in a test of blood cells exposed to oxidation. (Percival SS et al. Bioavailability of herbs and spices in humans as determined by ex vivo inflammatory suppression and DNA strand breaks. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012; 31(4):288-94 in Greger M, Stone G. How Not to Die. Flatiron Books, New York 2015, p352.)
Turmeric, with its anti-inflammatory and redness reducing properties, can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions including eczema, allergic hives, and even chicken pox! Turmeric is also a great treatment for acne, as it is both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory (not to mention anti-oxidant and anti-neoplastic) (Vaugh AR. et al. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systemic Review of the Clinical Evidence. Phytother Res. 2016 Aug;30(8):1243-64).
. The JUARA Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask maximizes the healing properties of turmeric by combining it with kaolin clay!
There are no known side effects for applying turmeric directly onto the skin. When ingesting turmeric, however, it is important to remember that turmeric is a blood thinner. Consuming turmeric daily makes it more difficult for your blood to clot, so lessen your turmeric intake if you take medicine that thins your blood, or speak to your doctor.
You can see the JUARA products here.
One of my favorite jamu (herbal tonics) from Indonesia is the Kunir Asem. It is a combination of Turmeric and Tamarind blended in a superjuice (as I like to call it) with water, lime, a pinch of salt and palm sugar (or agave/honey.) Together, turmeric and tamarind together have a positive effect on your digestive system and helps fight inflammation in your system. But sometimes I don’t feel like making up a beverage – it’s not so convenient, but I know what is – breakfast. And brunch. We all enjoy it so why not combine that Indonesian grassy spice of turmeric and the tangy sweet flavor of tamarind fruit in our everyday routine? Make the exotic accessible in this easy to make recipe I created this weekend on my own leisurely brunch – and for sure I’ll be making it again!
And for all things JUARA Skincare that contain Turmeric, click HERE to see and learn about how Turmeric can benefit your skin! (I, for one, made the recipe below after applying the Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask for a full experience and inspiration!)
3 tablespoons of milk
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (or garlic powder as a shortcut)
2 big pinches or 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
pinch of sea salt
generous crack/shakes of black pepper (helps turmeric be more bioavailable and easily absorbed by the body)
coconut oil (to heat in the pan, plus it’s good for you and turmeric is also more effective when mixed with a fat/oil)
Optional: Add a 1/2 teaspoon of Garam Masala or Everyday Spice mix (from Trader Joe’s or of your choice)
1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) Tamarind Sauce/Tamarind Chutney found in the Asian/Indian section of supermarkets. Often the sauces are pre-made, great for dips, sauces or condiments.
Scramble the eggs, milk, garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper (and optional spices) together. Heat coconut oil in a pan to medium, and scramble the eggs until fluffy and cooked. (You can always vary by making it into an omelette and adding spinach too).
3-4 Brussel Sprouts, raw, finely chopped
1 tsbp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Juice of 1/4 Lemon
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: Add baby kale or chopped cucumber for additional greens or crunch
Blend all ingredients together and serve. Add more lemon juice, or any other ingredient to flavor the brussel sprouts to taste. This is supposed to be a clean, light and fresh salad to complement the richer flavor and softer texture of the scrambled eggs.
How to serve: Plate the scrambled eggs on a plate, and top with tamarind sauce. Surround the eggs with a ring of brussels slaw. Enjoy the delicious texture combination and healthy flavors together!
Better self-care is high on my list of new year resolutions. As a mother of 3 little kids, I have also become an ULTRA-pragmatist. Unless something is quick and easy (and financially reasonable), I know I won’t do it on a consistent basis, no matter how good it is for me. In other words, acts of self-care have to fit into YOUR life. Committing to one Jamu drink a day has long been one of my self-care goals. After playing around with various Jamu recipes, I’d like to share with you my 5-minute version of Kunyit Asem (a Jamu drink made with Turmeric and Tamarind) that is super easy to make but packs a punch.
This drink is a wonderful way to start the day or to calm down before you go to bed, or whenever you have a free 5-minute window in between. Kunyit Asem has a long tradition in Indonesian medicine to treat and prevent a whole list of ailments. Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help with joint pain, stomach issues, diabetes and even depression, while Tamarind is said to help with cold & flu symptoms, nausea and blood sugar balance.
Also: While I think it’s awesome that when you are in a hurry, you can now just buy Jamu-like drinks at the health food store or juice bar, they are not exactly cheap. This 5-minute Kunyit Asem will cost you about 25 cents per serving. So here it goes:
Notes on Ingredients and Tools:
And no, I’m not referring to the “would you like that shaken or stirred?” drink variety. I’m talking more of the post holiday Jamu inspired easy-to-make herbal drinks that specifically address digestion and cleansing because, well, the holidays. Maybe your new year comes filled with resolutions, new goals, and aspirations. Perhaps we tell ourselves “I promise to eat better and exercise more.” Every. Single. Year. But to help get into that mode, let’s reset our bodies and give our systems an encouraging boost from all the holiday feasting with this easy to make, delicious and natural tea from Indonesia!
This gingery spicy drink can be drunk hot or cold, and is easy to make. Ginger, a root in the same family as turmeric, cardammon, and galangal, is used heavily in Jamu tradition to aid with overfull or upset tummies and nausea. It is warming and great for circulation. Lemongrass contains vitamins A and C, folate, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese – plus a delightfully pungent and flowery citrus aroma. BOTH are also known to be anti-inflammatory (great for our digestive tract overworked from indulgence), anti-bacterial (great for upset tummies), and contain anti-oxidant properties. Prepared together, it’s like a match made in heaven, or at least that’s what your body will think. This traditional drink’s recipe is loose and simple – play with the ingredient amounts to taste, the way people in Indonesia make their own versions.
The great part is if you don’t drink all the tea at once, it’s easy to store the remaining unsweetened tea in the fridge, with the ginger/lemongrass bits still in it. The tea will just become more flavorful! Reheat whenever you want more.
If you’re a ginger lover, before you slice it, crack or crush/slightly flatten the ginger so the surface breaks and you can see the inside (like how you crush garlic with a side of a knife.) Then pan sear (without oil) until the skin shows a light tan. The cooking heat brings out the ginger’s pungent flavor so when sliced and boiled packs an extra punch.
In Indonesia, wedang jahe is often served in clear mugs, with a thin but tall talk of lemongrass in the mug for decoration. You can also include a few slices of the ginger in the clear mug – it will look pretty – and your body will thank you!
For another good health drink that’s a little heavier but also great for the liver, check out the recipe of another Jamu staple, Kunir Asem here. It’s an oldie but a goodie – as these recipes are centuries old and timeless!
Happy Holidays! Time for holiday cheer, or at least holiday drinks to keep the festive season going. One of my favorites is actually good ol’ eggnog with its creaminess. Sometimes I’ll add a little rum to it, but other times, I get a little more creative with my Indonesian inspirations.
Choosing Eggnog: If you’re not going to make your own and find yourself wandering down the aisle of Whole Foods (or your favorite grocery store) browsing eggnog varieties, one thing I like to look for is organic milk, and as few “thickeners” as possible, such as guar gum, carrageenan, etc. They are not necessarily bad or “dirty” ingredients per se, but if you can get eggnog with the shortest ingredient list with ingredients such as organic milk, cream, sugar and eggs, why not? If nothing else, it tastes better – to me at least.
I don’t usually associate Eggnog with a health drink, however you can sneak a little bit of spice in there to boost its health benefits without compromising taste – like a pinch of turmeric powder plus a crack of black pepper. Not only does turmeric have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits, it also becomes more easily absorbed by your body in the presence of oils/fats (and if there’s one thing eggnog has, it’s fat!) In small amounts, turmeric powder is fairly flavor-neutral, without the earthy flavor of its natural counterpart often used in Indonesian cuisines or health tonics like Indonesian jamu. The black pepper additionally aids in the absorption of turmeric’s benefits into the body, making it more bio-available, so go ahead – add a little spice to a holiday season!\
Coming from a tropical island of coffee and coconuts, I love mixing eggnog with coffee & coconut oil served warm. Coconut oil is great with coffee not only because of coconut oil’s great benefits, but in particular because it helps the caffeine release more slowly in your system so you get a more sustained energy boost vs the big jolt and crash. For festive cheer, I like a good amount of eggnog in it, making it quite yummy and comforting, whether in the office or at home. Add more excitement? Sprinkle with cinnamon, also a common ingredient used in Indonesian beverages to add warmth and sweetness without the sugar. The thick sweetness of the eggnog is cut by the deep, dark, bitter taste of coffee – it’s almost like a super rich, lightly sweetened café-au-lait with a hint of spices. Move over Pumpkin Latte, here comes something new.
Just typing this up got me in the mood for some eggnog – let’s see which one of the two I’m going to make now! Got any interesting holiday concoctions to share?